How We Talk About Allergy-Friendly Food
"Why do I need the Friendliest.app?
Doesn't the Disneyland app have all of the same information?"
These are questions we get asked a lot. In short, you don't need the Friendliest.app. The Disneyland App and Disneyland Dining Website are both great resources for researching, planning and even mobile ordering allergy-friendly items.
That said, we do feel we are a bit more comprehensive, as neither the app nor the website list all the allergy-friendly offerings, especially when it table service restaurants, beverages and snacks. But, where we feel we really differentiate ourselves from Disney's offerings and where we start adding real value is in how we talk about allergy-friendly food and how we curate and provide the information.
Can I see an example?
Let's take a look at the Ka-Cheeseburger from Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land. If you pull up the allergy-friendly information in either the Disneyland app or dining website, it will look like this:
This entry is for the Gluten/Wheat Allergy-Friendly Ka-Cheeseburger.
But I'm looking for the Egg Allergy-Friendly option?
You'll get another box for that.
And another for Fish and Shellfish.
And one for Peanuts and Tree Nuts.
One more for Soy.
And kind-of-sort-of one for Milk.
Aside from name change on the last one (and the lack of cheese), can you spot any differences?
If you look closely, you'll see that some of the descriptions are slightly different. For instance, the gluten/wheat-friendly and soy-friendly burgers are served on an Allergy-Friendly Bun, while the rest are served on a Sesame Bun, which contains both wheat and soy.
So...if I have both Gluten and Peanut allergies I'm out of luck?
Not at all! You can still enjoy a Ka-Cheeseburger, it's just less obvious how.
The Ka-Cheeseburger is naturally peanut/tree nut allergy-friendly with no alterations so Disney lists it with the standard options, including the Sesame Bun. The Allergy-Friendly Bun is peanut/tree nut allergy-friendly in additional to being gluten/wheat allergy-friendly, so ordering the burger on the Allergy-Friendly Bun would make the meal friendly for both allergies. If fact, the Allergy-Friendly Bun is free of all the top 8 food allergens except egg, though it is only list under the gluten/wheat and soy entries.
There are a few other subtle differences. The egg allergy-friendly entry omits the 1000 Island dressing, which contains eggs. And the soy allergy-friendly entry doesn't give the option for Steak Fries, because the fryer oil blend contains soy.
Ugh exactly! That's where we come in and why we've chosen to present the information a bit differently...
Instead of individual entries for each allergy-friendly option, we have a single Allergy-Friendly Ka-Cheeseburger entry where we've distilled down all the options and caveats.
For the Ka-Cheeseburger, we determined the meal can be gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, peanut/tree nut and soy allergy-friendly by simply requesting the Allergy-Friendly Bun and (in the case of soy) choosing the Cuties® over the Steak Fries. We represent this both graphically, with the allergy-friendly icons at the top and in the description of the item.
If further alterations can be made to the meal to account for other additional allergens, those are also listed. Here, we indicate omitting the cheese with make the Ka-Cheese(less)burger milk-friendly and by using a standard bun and omitting dressing, it is egg-friendly (but introduces other allergens).
We also include information about food handling and kitchen practices if available. In the case of the Ka-Cheeseburger, we've noted that dedicated fryers are used at Flo's to minimize cross-contaimination of the Steak Fries with other allergen-containing fried items, like Flo's Famous Fried Chicken.
And, if you've one of the awesome people who have created a Friendliest.app account and set your food allergies, you'll be able to search and filter for foods that match your dietary needs!
We feel this a much more ahem friendly way of conveying allergy information and we strive to make it as easy to digest as your next allergy-friendly meal.
Kevin Williams | Friday, August 13th 2021